South Florida Sun-Sentinel by Cindy Krischer Goodman
February 6, 2020
Florida health officials say state law prevents them from telling the public about suspected cases of coronavirus, yet the state regularly revealed that information during the Zika crisis three years ago.
The state put out daily updates about the Zika virus, informing the public of suspected as well as confirmed cases. The law was the same then.
U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, who was Florida’s governor at the time, said Florida should be as transparent now with coronavirus as it was with Zika. Scott is urging the same transparency for federal officials.
Daniel Dawes, a lawyer and professor of complex health systems at Nova Southeastern University, said he too would like to see more openness with the coronavirus, which originated in China and now has spread to 28 countries.
“I understand [Florida health officials] not wanting to get folks too concerned or scared, but as a citizen, I want to know if there are pending cases out there,” Dawes said. “If there are more pending cases in one part of the state than the other, I want to know that. If a test doesn’t lead to positive, I want to know that, too. I think Florida owes it to its citizens to be open with information so they can protect themselves.”